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Banking Crisis


If you deposit more money in your bank account than you with draw, your balance will increase.  The more your balance increases, the more interest the bank pays you – increasing your balance further – and the kindly your bank looks upon you.  Get a big enough balance and other banks may court you for your business.  On the other hand, if you withdraw more than you deposit, the balance will decrease.  It won’t stop at zero, however: your account will go overdrawn, taking you into the mysterious realm of negative numbers.  The more overdrawn you go, the more your bank will charge you – decreasing your balance even further.  If you continually go overdrawn, your bank will probably ask you to take your business elsewhere.  Decrease your balance to such a level that you cannot possibly pay it back and you’re likely to be declared bankrupt – which makes further banking (and other things) problematic to say the least.

In his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Stephen Covey talks about the Emotional Bank Account.  It’s a metaphor for the state of relationships and works in the same way as a normal bank account except that, instead of money, the balance is the level of trust in the relationship.

Some actions you can take – we’ll call them deposits – will improve the relationship, increasing balance of trust in the emotional bank account you hold with the person concerned.  The higher the emotional bank account balance, the better the relationship and the more benefits you with both reap from it.  Some actions you can take – withdrawals – will harm the relationship, reducing the level of trust.  Keep making withdrawals and your emotional bank account with the person concerned becomes so overdrawn that the relationship breaks down.  Do it often enough with enough people and you’ll become bankrupt and, no matter what you do or say, no one trusts you anymore; even things you sincerely intend as deposits will be seen as withdrawals.

I was reminded of this as I read a lot of the coverage about the publication of Tony Blair’s memoirs.  I’m not making a political comment but it was interesting to see how, no matter what he said or explanations he tried to give, no matter what deposits he tried to make, they were interpreted as withdrawals by some.  Even giving a potential £4m to the British Legion was seen by some as self-serving; they just wouldn’t believe him, no matter what he said.

We all make withdrawals occasionally – it’s just part of being human.  An apology is usually all it takes to restore the relationship.  But make sure you notice the withdrawals; we may not all run countries, head political parties or start wars but it’s still possible for us to end up bankrupt.

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